icebound

I can’t get out of my apartment.

Boston didn’t really get that much snow from this season’s Omega Blizzard.  Probably about six inches which, for those of you visiting from the South (and I know you’re out there), is really nothing.  There are no giant mounds of snow crushing at my front door.  The problem is that yesterday’s fluffy, friendly snow turned to evil, gray sleet halfway through the day.  My walk from the subway to my apartment—about half a block—was an absolute nightmare.  The carpet of snow prevented the rainwater from draining into the sewers, turning the sidewalks in my neighborhood into lakes six inches deep.  I circled my street for an extra ten minutes just trying to figure out how to get onto my block.

On this chilly, sunlit morning, the nightmare scenario I’ve been dreading for six years has finally become reality.  Despite the best efforts of shovels and snowblowers the night before, the remains of the snow and water have hardened into wavy, flawlessly smooth swathes of ice.  It’s impassable.  My balance just isn’t good enough.

I can’t get out of my apartment.

That’s not entirely true.  I can get out of my apartment easily enough, and even walk about fifteen feet before I hit the first patch of ice.  I can even get over that patch of ice if I move slowly enough.  Alright, so my feet went out from under me the first time, but I caught myself on a nearby wall and dragged myself upright, and continued onward.  It wasn’t embarrassing at all, slipping and falling and slipping some more like that.  In public.  I rounded the corner and made it another twenty feet or so before I came to it.  The parking lot.  The one with the steep incline that always has a stream of water pouring out of it whenever it rains.  Now the part of it that crosses my sidewalk is, you guessed it, a sheet of ice, larger, longer, and bumpier than the one before it.  Also?  Nothing to grab if I slip.  Which I will.  Because winter hates friction and gravity hates me.

I can’t get out of my apartment.

So, I turned around—carefully—and headed back to my apartment.  A less honest writer would omit the part where he comes back to that first patch of ice, slips, and lands ass first on what feels like a glass floor.  But people, I am nothing if not honest.   It was a weird feeling dragging myself up again, my gloved hands pressing against a bank of snow that had frozen so perfectly solid that it almost felt like plastic.

I can’t get out of my apartment.

I can’t be the only one.  Even the more sure-footed people in my neighborhood are having their awkward moments.  I’m sure that none of them are missing a day of work because of it, though.  How do you people even look at an icy sidewalk?  How do you perceive it?  Surely, it crosses your mind that you need to be more cautious, right?  Do you start picturing your steps ahead of time?  Do you start planning for a possible fall?  Does the possibility even occur to you?  I ask because I’ve never thought about an icy sidewalk any other way.

I can’t get out of my apartment.

God knows I tried.  Even now, I’m still dressed for work.  I called the office to let them know the situation (“I can’t get out of my apartment.”).   Yes, Jon, you will have to use a sick day.  No, Jon, wearing a tie and sitting in front of a computer does not count as “coming to work.”  See you tomorrow, maybe.  The temperature won’t pop up above freezing until at least Saturday.

I can’t get out of my apartment.

It’s not so bad, really.  It’s really hilarious watching that silver sedan at the bottom of my street spin its wheels.  It’s been trapped for at least a half hour.  I’ve started a betting pool with myself, and I think it’ll be out of the parking space before the hour is out.  I think I’ll have some buffalo wings delivered for lunch today, because, you know, I can’t get out of my apartment.

Commentation

(2 Comments)

  1. GDeeeeZL wrote:

    As you well know, JD, I walk as though I am on a mission to hurt somebody….bad. Furthermore, I tend to ambulate with my shoulders, not my legs. When I approach a large sheet of ice I don’t think so much as I tell the ice with my size 12s, “You better hope I don’t fall because if I do, you’re going to be the one who gets hurt.” Ice is my bitch. Ice fears and respects me. If I do slip, I tend to catch myself by stomping down hard with the heel of the foot highest in the air. Ice is my bitch. That quick stomp on the ice reminds it who is the DeeeeZ and who is simply a (mostly) static group of water molecules. Ice is my bitch. I’m sorry you’re stuck inside today. Rest assured, I will have a hero fantasy later today, wherein I bust my way through the tundra to your apartment and flex a path clear for you from home all the way to your work.

  2. Icelander wrote:

    At least you don’t own your own house. Then the ice and snow that’s trapping you in your house is YOUR problem.

    You get to strap on your boots and gloves and coat and scarf and hat and long underpants, though not necessarily in that order, and grab your shovel and pickaxe and salt and dynamite and go dig that stuff out.

    Then, the following day, you get to stay home from work because you can’t. freaking. move.

    (I followed your link from WWdN.)